Download Mistletoe plants grow on a wide range of host trees, and commonly

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Mistletoe plants grow on a wide range of host trees, and commonly reduce their
growth but can kill them with heavy infestation. Viscum album can parasitise more
than 200 tree and shrub species. All mistletoes are hemi-parasites, bearing
evergreen leaves that do some photosynthesis, and using the host mainly for water
and mineral nutrients. However, the mistletoe first sprouts from bird feces[citation
needed] on the trunk of the tree and in its early stages of life takes it nutrients from
this source.[citation needed] Species more or less completely parasitic include the
leafless quintral, Tristerix aphyllus, which lives deep inside the sugar-transporting
tissue of a spiny cactus, appearing only to show its tubular red flowers,[6] and the
genus Arceuthobium (dwarf mistletoe; Santalaceae) which has reduced
photosynthesis; as an adult, it manufactures only a small proportion of the sugars it
needs from its own photosythesis but as a seedling it actively photosynthesizes until
a connection to the host is established.
Some species of the largest family, Loranthaceae, have small, insect-pollinated
flowers (as with Santalaceae), but others have spectacularly showy, large, birdpollinated flowers.
Most mistletoe seeds are spread by birds, such as the Mistle Thrush in Europe, the
Phainopepla in southwestern North America, and Dicaeum of Asia and Australia.
However, distinguishing between these species and ones of other ecological biomes
is not difficult. They derive sustenance and agility through eating the fruits and nuts
(drupes). The seeds are excreted in their droppings and stick to twigs, or more
commonly the bird grips the fruit in its bill, squeezes the sticky coated seed out to
the side, and then wipes its bill clean on a suitable branch.[citation needed] The
seeds are coated with a sticky material called viscin (containing both cellulosic
strands and mucopolysaccharides), which hardens and attaches the seed firmly to
its future host.
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